I’ve been a daycare mum for almost 7 years. After all that time I should be a pro – after all, my family is part of the furniture at the centre. However, drop offs are still an absolute nightmare for me. I actually think that they’re worse now than they were right back in the beginning.
Our daycare journey
My daughter unexpectedly entered childcare at 9 months. I hadn’t really planned to go back to work, but then an opportunity came up suddenly. I called around a few centres and one just down the road had a vacancy. So I popped her into the pram and we headed down to check it out. From the time that I spoke to my employer to the day she started care was about two weeks. I didn’t have time to get sentimental or worked up about it – I just had to get it done!
Her first six weeks in care were just like most kids – she spent all day crying. I don’t remember being too upset about it as I had so much going on at work and knew that she was in good hands. Educators who were there when she first started remembered how much she cried though! Despite this, she attended the centre for five years and loved it. She was never difficult to drop off. She was one of those kids who just needed a piece of toast and she was happy!
My youngest, however, is a different story. He’s always been more difficult at drop off, and since his sister went to school last year he’s been a nightmare. I should be a seasoned professional at drop off, but up until recently there were days I left on the verge of tears. So if you’re feeling the strain, or even just feeling guilty, I understand.
If this is a familiar tale for you, let me assure you that it will get better! And one day you’ll feel a pang of sadness that they no longer need you as much. But in the meantime, here are some great coping mechanisms to help you deal with the daycare drop off.
Six tips to help deal with the daycare drop off
- Stick with the same routine each day – sign in, put bag down, sit them down for breakfast. This helps you as much as it does them – they know the familiar routine and it helps settle them. For you, it sets you on autopilot to start your day.
- Ensure that they have everything in their bag the night before – no-one needs a tantrum about a forgotten hat or drink bottle to start their day!
- Unless it is really necessary, try and leave chatting to the teacher until the afternoon – the quicker you can leave them the better it is for both of you.
- Fight the urge to pick them up if they start complaining – believe me when I say that it’s more traumatic for both of you when an educator needs to peel them off you.
- Enlist the support of the educators to help identify a friend who is there at the same child as yours so that they can encourage them to sit/play together when you arrive.
- Ask the educators if there is a task that your child can help them with to distract them from your departure. This might be helping with younger children, helping make breakfast, preparing the room.
And one final tip – remember that this is only a temporary phase. It will pass sooner than you realise.